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Lot 036: Alvis Firefly Drophead Coupe

Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles, Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers (18 July 2012)

Launched in the Autumn of 1932, the Alvis Firefly was essentially a slightly smaller and less costly four-cylinder version of the legendary six-cylinder Alvis Speed 20. Handsome and sporting, it had a notably wide track and low-slung 'double-dropped' chassis with a 118-inch wheelbase, only five inches shorter than the Speed 20, that endowed it with excellent handling and roadholding characteristics. Suspension was by semi-elliptic leaf springs all round with friction dampers and four-wheel 14-inch drum brakes. Power came from a 1.5-litre OHV engine that produced 50bhp at 4,250rpm, driving through a four-speed manual or ENV pre-selector gearbox, that could propel the car to 70mph. Available with saloon, tourer or drophead coupe coachwork, mainly by Cross & Ellis, it was replaced by the 1.8-litre Firebird in 1935 by which time some 904 examples had been sold. As copies of the accompanying Alvis factory build sheets confirm, this particular Firefly is a Cross & Ellis-bodied Drophead Coupe that was built in December 1932 and despatched to its first owner in Ross-on-Wye early in the following year. Pleasingly the car still retains its original VJ registration number and still has its original engine, chassis and bodywork as detailed in the build sheets. The current vendor acquired the car from Alvis specialists Earley Engineering in May 2009 and has considerably improved it since then, including a major bodywork refurbishment and respray at Red Triangle in late 2009 with bills on file totalling some 20,000. As you might expect, the panel fit and paint finish is now exemplary throughout and the car really does look most impressive. The car comes with a very large history file going back to the mid-1980s showing that it has been well maintained throughout this time, mainly by marque specialists Red Triangle and Earley Engineering. To give just a couple of examples, the head was rebuilt in 2002 at a cost of some 1,500 by Hart & Lee engineering of Canterbury, old MOTs showing that it has only covered about 2,000 miles since that date. A new hood was also fitted by Earley Engineering in 2003. In the same year Earley also carried out a detailed appraisal of the car for a prospective buyer (who subsequently bought the car) and any faults they had identified were then rectified at a cost of some 3,300 (mainly work to the brakes, suspension and steering, all detailed in the history file). The car is said to drive very well indeed with everything working as it should and it certainly performed well when we were treated to a test drive on the occasion of our visit to take these photographs. Taxed until April 2013 and with an MOT until next May, this is a lovely matching numbers example of this delightful sporting tourer that is sure to give its new owner a great deal of pleasure.

Lot Details
Auction Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles
Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers, Easters Court, Leominster, Herefordshire, HR6 0DE
Lot Number036
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£26500
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Condition rating
Registration numberVJ 4913
Chassis number10210
Engine number1066011
Engine capacity (cc)1496
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors